One ERP for S'pore non-profit healthcare

Eleven non-profit healthcare organizations will be implementing one integrated system to make it easier to share patients' medical records.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--A project to implement one ERP (enterprise resource planning) system across 11 non-profit healthcare organizations in the island-state is underway.

Dubbed "IngoT", the project will eliminate duplicated records and provide a 20 percent increase in productivity, serving some 46 doctors and 716 nurses from the organizations.

Funded in large part by local charitable organization, the Lien Foundation, "IngoT" began at the start of 2007 and is targeted for completion by the end of 2008.

Developed by PulseSync, the ERP system encompasses financial, inventory, human resource, donor management, patient administration, EMRs (electronic medical records) and clinical management modules.

The 11 organizations comprise the Home Nursing Foundation, HCA Hospice Care, National Kidney Foundation (NKF), Tsao Foundation, St. Luke's Hospital, Peacehaven Nursing Home, Singapore Cancer Society, Assisi Hospice, St. Joseph's Home, Renci Code 4 (home care) and TOUCH Home Care.

To date, only the Home Nursing Foundation has completed its implementation of the project. HCA Hospice Care and NKF have started on the first implementation phase, while the other eight will begin next year.

According to the Lien Foundation, "IngoT will prepare the consortium to connect with the Singapore government's EMRX (electronic medical record exchange) system" and help support the nation's vision of connecting all the island's healthcare facilities.

Dr. R. Akhileswaran, HCA Hospice Care's medical director, said at the press conference today that the benefits of the integrated EMR system are many. Staff will not need to carry bulky notes, and the system will help ensure consistency in the data collected.

"Sometimes I can't even read my handwriting on older paper records," laughed Akhileswaran. "With over 70 percent of our patients in serious conditions, we need complete information quickly onhand when we're visiting them."

Eunice Tay, NKF CEO, agreed: "We have overflowing dialysis information, and there is a struggle to keep data clean and up to date. Right now data entry is done manually, and that takes a tremendous amount of time for our staff."

The patients that the organizations see typically belong to low-income groups, Tay added, and having consolidated records where doctors can refer to previous prescriptions will prevent them from prescribing duplicates to the patients, hence keeping costs low.

Said Fang Ai Lian, president of the Home Nursing Foundation: "It is important that we remove frustration and improve morale of our staff, so that they can focus on what they love--caring for patients.

"In a way, we run a business, with aspects like human resources and finance. So we need to pool this together in an efficient way. Governance is also a key aspect for us, and the system will improve transparency to help stakeholders monitor information and the way the organization is run."

The ERP software is built atop Microsoft CRM 3.0, with the central dashboard on business intelligence software, Qlikview. Seven out of the 11 organizations plan to adopt the full suite from PulseSync.

Lee Poh Wah, the Lien Foundation's programme director, said: "The other four foundations do not need all the modules, because they are still early adopters of technology."

The total project investment is S$3.5 million (US$2.41 million), with S$1.6 million (US$1.1) from the Lien Foundation, a pool of S$1.85 million (US$1.27) from the 11 organizations and S$50,000 (US$34,507) from Microsoft.

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